Today’s reading: Job 11-21, Psalm 68
Today the dialogue continues between Job and his friends. . .and becomes more heated. The more Job questions his circumstances, the more judgmental (and self-righteous, perhaps?) his friends become–Job must have done something to cause the situation. The more they try to convince him, the more exasperated he becomes with their attempts.
In yesterday’s reading, the question of “Why?” was more general in nature. As his friends continue to press him today on the role he has played in all of this, Job becomes more indignant and his question becomes more focused–“Why is this happening to me, a good person, and those who are evil get off scot-free?”
It is a question with which all of us have wrestled, perhaps not on our own account but on behalf of someone else. We learn that a precious child has been diagnosed with cancer, a devoted mother has died tragically in a car accident, a close-knit community ransacked by a tornado, and we wonder why such terrible things would happen. Meanwhile, we hear of neighbors cheating on their taxes and living more comfortably because of it, crooks extravagantly spending the money they’ve swindled out of unsuspecting clients, and tyrannical dictators dining in palaces and getting away with murder. The injustice of it all sometimes seems overwhelming.
The book of Job will not offer us any easy answers. What we may discover along the way, however, is our tendency to ask the wrong questions (or carelessly offer the wrong answers) in regard to human suffering. Job just might teach us a lesson in humility when it comes to the problem of pain.